written by ANNA KOCHARIAN
photos courtesy of ERIN FRANCOIS
CHANDELIER George Kovacs Pontil Honey Gold Six-light Chandelier, bellacor.com DINING CHAIRS Threshold Windsor (Set of 2), target.com BOOKCASES Threshold Carsib 2-shelf target.com CEILING MEDALLION Ekena Millwork amazon.com DINING TABLE Family piece
After purchasing a 1934 Tudor-style home, DIY blogger and interior design enthusiast, Erin Francois had one thing in mind: a total renovation. The goal was to transform the 90-year-old structure into a 21st century home, complete with smarter and more efficient technology that managed to uphold the original elements of the space. Along with her husband Ken, who manages commercial construction, the two embarked on their very first project as a couple. What better than their first home?
The home, which is actually a duplex, features two floors – a 1600 square foot main floor, where the couple lives, and an upstairs apartment for rent.
WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DESIGN OF THE SPACE?
We were inspired by visually clean and modern spaces that had been softened by traditional architectural elements and handmade pieces. As a couple of DIY fanatics, we’ve made a lot of our furniture and accessories ourselves. We wanted our home to function as a sort of blank canvas in which to use and display our work.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE AESTHETIC OF THE HOME?
I’d describe our aesthetic as “handmade modern.” While we’re drawn towards bright and modern spaces, we still wanted our home to feel approachable and “unstyled.” We occupy every available square inch of the 1600 square foot, so there’s no room for stark formality. Using a melange of handcrafted and vintage pieces really help reinforce the relaxed and casual vibe. The palette of luxe neutrals with hints of indigo play a unifying role throughout the home.
We reworked the layout of the kitchen’s major work zones so they functioned better as a whole and provided additional counter space, to allow for two simultaneous cooks.
CABINET Martha Stewart Living, homedepot.com COUNTER TOP Honed Marble Work Tops, universalstone-inc.com BACKSPLASH Elongated Subway Tiles discountglasstilestore.com FAUCET Delta amazon.com HANDLES Artesia Sedona Bronze Cabinet Pull homedepot.com LIGHT (above sink) Nova Pendant schoolhouseelectric.com (ceiling) Northwestern 6″ schoolhouseelectric.com SHADE Natural Multi-Weave Bamboo Roman homedepot.com KNIFE RACK GRUNDTAL ikea.com RUG ebay.com
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DESIGN?
The pièce de résistance for me is the pair of slatted sink cabinet doors we were able to salvage from the original kitchen. We refinished them with new paint and hardware to match the new cabinetry, and I love how they give our inexpensive cabinetry a custom look, as well as help pay homage to the home’s 90-year-old bones.
The bulk of our renovation was concentrated in the kitchen which involved stripping the walls down to the studs, insulating and adding smarter, more efficient technology through lighting, electrical, heating, ventilation, and plumbing.
WHAT WAS SOMETHING YOU SPLURGED ON FOR THE DESIGN? SCRIMPED?
We had just purchased our first home and were tackling a multi-space renovation while we still had our apartment lease, so the splurges were few and far between. However, we did splurge a little on the kitchen range. I really wanted a gas convection range with a built-in feel, so we upped our original appliance budget a bit to work it in. We also splurged on a vintage Persian area rug in the living room that set the color palette for both the living and dining spaces.The area we scrimped on was the kitchen flooring. The faux oak laminate was recently put in by the previous owner and was in good shape, so in effort to stay within budget, we didn’t update the flooring. Someday, I’d love to replace it with salvaged hardwood to flow with the rest of the home.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE SOMEONE, LOOKING TO UPDATE THEIR SPACE?
Trust your gut! If you’re like me, you’ll second guess a ton of your design choices along the way. Take heart, and try to have faith! Those sound decisions you made before you were exhausted and covered with plaster dust are probably the right ones. It’s all going to come together in the end!Also, don’t design your home to look like someone else’s home. Let your home be a reflection of you and the pieces that tell your unique story.
DRESSER Hemnes , ikea.com